Jersey Shore Worries About Gulf Oil Spill

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An underwater view of the BP oil leak.

    With scientists saying the oil surging into the Gulf of Mexico could make its way into the Gulf Stream, New Jerseyeans are starting to worry -- both unofficially and officially.

    Unofficially, there's Asbury Park restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach, owner of several hot spots in the seaside city.

    Growing Concerns For NJ As Gulf Coast Oil Spill Continues.

    [NY] Growing Concerns For NJ As Gulf Coast Oil Spill Continues.
    Fishermen fear oil could spread up to them. (Published Friday, May 28, 2010)

    "We're screwed. What do we do? I have 200 and something employees working for me," Schlossbach told NBCNewYork.

    She added "They pay mortgages with that. They feed their kids with that. They go to school with that money. That'll be gone."

    Officially, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has set up a task force with scientists from Rutgers as well as Stevens Institute of Technology under orders to closely monitor the movement of the spill, now estimated at anywhere between two and five times larger than the Exxon Valdez.

    "We're fairly confidant it will not affect [us]." DEP Commission Bob Martin told NBCNewYork.

    But he also admitted that if it gets into the Gulf Stream, "a major storm could push it toward our direction."

    The latest forecasts from hurricane experts are that this will be much more active season for major storms, at just about the time the spill, if it enters the Gulf Stream, would be passing offshore.

    "I am worried, not only for now but for our kids," said Gia De La Cruz of Woodland Park, N.J. as she was sunning herself on an Asbury Park Beach.

    Ironically, this fear comes even as the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium was naming the state's Top Ten beaches.

    Asbury Park came in at Number Four (The Wildwoods reclaimed the Number One position) as most of its beach sand survived what one expert, Dr. Jon Millers of Stevens Institute of Technology, called "one of the worst [winter] storm seasons in the last 20 years."

    As to the possibility that New Jersey might welcome offshore oil drilling if and when President Obama lifts his just-enacted freeze, don't count on it.

    "The Governor [Republican Chris Christie] has made it crystal clear he is opposed to offshore drilling off the coast of New Jersey and it will not happen during his term," said DEP Commissioner Martin.

    Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY